Monday, February 18, 2013

Five Things to Consider in A Lighting Retrofit: Part 2

Our last blog described the concept of a lighting retrofit as discussed in this piece, and gave the first two from our list of five important considerations in that project. Here are three more factors to weigh as you upgrade your facility.

Lifecycle Cost Evaluation. The “lifecycle” portion of this is important, especially if an LED or CFL retrofit is being undertaken. While upfront costs will be higher, energy savings over the extended life of these bulb types are remarkable as compared to fluorescents or incandescents. To reiterate: the dual savings of increased lifespan (up to fifty times as long, for LEDs), combined with lower energy bills, add up to much lower long-term costs. Be sure to factor in lifecycle, projected energy use, and the initial upfront capital investment when working out your cost analysis.

Certifications. From UL to LEED, there will be certification implications when lamps and ballasts are retrofitted. Most documentation indicates that a listing or certification will be cancelled out with a hardware change. However, UL will evaluate retrofits on-site to relist a facility and fixture.

Recycling. Depending upon the age of existing bulbs and ballasts, specialized disposal may be required throughout a retrofit. Hazardous chemicals and PCBs may be present, and, if you are undertaking a retrofit from, say, CFLs to LEDs, very low levels of mercury will be present in the CFLs, meaning that they cannot simply be thrown out. When in doubt, contact your municipal sanitation department with any questions.
We hope that this guide has proven useful whether you are considering such a project, or have already undertaken one with our help!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Five Things to Consider in A Lighting Retrofit: Part 1

While CFL and LED options are certainly on most facility managers’ minds when considering maintenance and replacement options, sometimes sticking with fluorescents can make the most sense. Even when choosing this option, however, there are still ways to drive down energy costs and increase usage efficiency. One of these ways is a full retrofit, meaning swapping out the existing lighting format for another format without adopting a new technology. In this article, the author describes changing from T12 fluorescent bulbs to T8 fluorescents – an switch, as both types of tubular lamps measure 48” in length.

More important than the specifics of that switch, however, is the list of considerations that the author details, which are applicable to any retrofit. Read the article for full details, and read on for a summary.

Color Quality. With too much of a change in light quality, color, and warmth, employees will certainly feel disoriented on that first Monday morning after the switch, even if they can’t quite put their finger on why. Luckily, it’s fairly easy to choose a retrofit lamp to match up to the previous ambience. “Correlated color temperature” provides an easy indication of light color and temperature, usually, for example, 2700K in homes and offices, and 3500K in hospitals.

Dimming and Flicker. There are few things more annoying than a flickering light above your cubicle (maybe someone stealing your lunch out of the community refrigerator). In the aforementioned T12 vs. T8 retrofit, T8s have been shown to flicker less. For CFLs and LEDs especially, the issue of dimming is a consideration, especially since much more extensive infrastructure work will be required to install the proper switches and controls.

Tune in for our next blog for the remaining options to consider in a lighting retrofit!